“Care for our common home, even apart from considerations of the effects of climate change, is not simply a utilitarian endeavor but a moral obligation for all men and women as children of God.” — Pope Francis
Long before Pope Francis published his second encyclical Laudato si’, I had some understanding of how important it was to care for the natural environment. But I would say that it was only in college after I gave a speech on electronic recycling that I actively tried to find ways to actually do something about it. It goes without saying, but caring for the natural environment is no simple task. Nevertheless, it’s been a rewarding experience and one that I hope to continue for many years to come. What follows are my experiences with caring for the natural environment and the knowledge that I have picked up along the way.
My journey towards caring for our common home inadvertently began when I was in middle school. I used to pick up aluminum cans off the streets so that my father could sell them for money. Living in Las Vegas, aluminum cans didn’t get you much money unless you knew the right buyer or were willing to travel to California (which we weren’t), but anything helped, especially since my father was the only one in my family who worked at the time. I don’t think I had yet understood the importance of recycling or caring for the natural environment, but I’ve always believed that this was one of the first steps that I took towards going in that direction.
Where it Really Began
Looking back, I can’t remember what prompted me to give a speech about electronic recycling. I suppose I’ve always liked technology and was curious to learn what became of electronic devices after they stopped functioning. The research that I did for this speech was eye-opening, to say the least, and from that point forward I became more conscious about the environment. For example, since I lived in an apartment complex that didn’t offer recycling, I started collecting the plastic bottles that we used and taking them to my college, which had a decent recycling program. I would do the same thing when I would go on to university, whose recycling program was even more extensive, to the point that they had composting. Admittedly, my parents weren’t too fond…